Find out why Bagels and Lox at Russ and Daughters is a Must Eat in New York City
No matter how many times I visit The Big Apple, every trip must include a visit to Russ and Daughters for their amazing bagels and lox sandwiches.
Bagels & Lox: A Must Eat Food of New York
New York Bagels are like no other anywhere in the world. I hear it’s the New York City water that makes them so good. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know a bagel in the Big Apple is a Must Eat, with its crusty firm exterior and pillowy, dense and chewy interior, perfect to be lathered with whipped cream cheese (schmear) and topped with smoked salmon (lox). This concoction can be breakfast, lunch or dinner, and always satisfying.
Judging by how crowded Russ & Daughters can be, especially on a weekend morning, this is the place to get your Bagels and Lox. One of the last remaining “appetizing” shops in the country, this family business has been a staple of the Lower East Side since 1914. Currently run by the fourth generation of the Russ family, it is as much a part of New York history as the Statue of Liberty.
What is an “Appetizing” store?
I did not know what an “appetizing” store was until I visited Russ & Daughters. The word appetizing in Jewish food tradition refers to “the food one eats with bagels” such as smoked and cured salmon, house made salads and cream cheeses. As a result of Jewish dietary laws, where meat and dairy cannot be sold together, appetizing stores were created to sell fish and dairy while delicatessens sold cured and pickled meats. Sadly, many of these stores have closed over the years, yet Russ and Daughters is committed to preserving the tradition. You can read more about it here. Now that you know, please don’t call them a deli.
A look inside Russ and Daughters
This is what Russ and Daughters looks like at night. A calm quiet experience to pick up your provisions.
However, if you want your bagels and lox for breakfast, like most of us, get there early, take your number and prepare yourself mentally for a bit of a wait and the awesome goodness that will be your reward.
Russ and Daughters Iconic Bagels and Lox Sandwiches
The delicate layers of thin sliced smoked salmon piled on top of whipped cream cheese, briny tangy capers, thick slice of tomato, and slice of red onion on a lightly toasted bagel. Oh, there is nothing like it. Russ and Daughters offers various types of smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheeses to choose from to create the perfect bagels and lox sandwich.
Their commitment to quality, craft and discerning palette is what has made Russ and Daughters smoked salmon world-famous. This is perfectly hand sliced, not machine sliced, and each order is made on the spot by a master slicer.
Gaspe Nova Smoked Salmon is cold smoked for a mild flavor with a satiny texture, perfect for any palate.
Gravlax is a Scandinavian specialty salmon cured and coated in a brine of salt, sugar, dill and a few secret ingredients. I loved the flavor of the dill on the delicate slices.
Norwegian Smoked Salmon has a firm texture and great balance of smoke and salt. It is one of the most popular choices and the least expensive usually.
A word of advice, you may go a bit crazy looking at all the fine choices of appetizing toppings for your bagel and although there will likely be plenty of people in line before you, the staff at Russ and Daughters are masters at moving the line quickly, so know your order before you get to the counter. If you are not sure what to order, just ask them for recommendations. They were nice guiding us through the menu and they do take their time to prepare the most perfect thin slices of salmon and a bagel sandwich made to your specifications.
Other Must Eats on the menu include The Whitefish and Baked Salmon Salad, the caviar, fresh pickled herring, and the Super Heebster Sandwich.
My first visit to Russ & Daughters was with my sisters during one of our New York Girls Getaway Weekends. This shop and those amazing bagels and lox sandwiches we shared will always hold special memories for me. The staff at Russ & Daughters has seen it all over the years and they share some of their fun memories on their website. It was fun to read that two of the original “Daughters” have retired in Florida, yet they still have their delicious provisions shipped to them from New York, which you can do the same by ordering online.
Russ & Daughters is located at 179 E Houston Street on the Lower East Side.
During your next visit to New York City, be sure to include a visit to Russ and Daughters and experience why this appetizing store serves the most popular bagels and lox in town, and probably the world.
Have you visited Russ and Daughters? I would love to hear about your experience and your favorite type of bagel sandwich to order, so please share it in the comments.
Don’t miss reading the full list of Must Eat Foods of New York. It will make you drool and book your next trip to The Big Apple.